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NHL Power Rankings Dec. 31: Out with the old, in with the...bottle of whiskey

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One last look back at 2014 before all this partying erases it from my mind.

I don't think that's what they mean by "curved stick."
I don't think that's what they mean by "curved stick."
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The imbibing has already begun, so this post will be a bit shorter than HIC!.... shorter than HIC!.... than usual.

Weekly Round-Up of Opinion Polls

Site Updated New Ranking Prior Ranking Comments
CBS 12/30/2014 6 6 You never quite know what to expect from this hot-and-cold club. It's still a far cry from last season when they were cold a heck of a lot more than hot.
ESPN 12/29/2014 9 6 A blown lead against the Sabres that led to a shootout loss on Saturday reinforces the lack of depth between the pipes when Jaroslav Halak is out of action (he might return this week).
TSN 12/29/2014 9 8 Came out of last week winless in two games (against Montreal and at Buffalo), but outshot the opposition 74-47. If you're going to drive play like that, the losing streaks shouldn't last long and that's a refreshing change for this franchise.
Fox 12/24/2014 7 7 The Islanders' four-game winning streak ended against the Canadiens and we can't help wondering if New York will be in the market for a better backup goalie. Chad Johnson is 5-5 with a .867 save percentage in 11 games.
USA Today 12/29/2014 6 8 The Islanders 23 wins through 35 games was one off the teams best start. They had 24 wins in 1978-79 and 1983-84.
SI --- --- --- None this week
Average 7 7 This week's opinions are sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.

Mostly, even with their faults, the publications pretty much say "Cheers!" to a solid season so far. I'll drink to that!

Was that a talking cricket? Wow, this ish good stuff. Mooving on...

LHH Power Rankings

For games through 12/29/14:

GP Reg W OT W SO OT L Reg L LHH Pts LHH Pct LHH Rating
1 Chicago Blackhawks 37 19 1 6 1 10 138 0.622 122
2 Pittsburgh Penguins 36 17 3 5 2 9 133 0.616 118
3 Tampa Bay Lightning 38 20 2 5 0 11 143 0.627 117
4 Nashville Predators 35 17 2 6 1 9 130 0.619 114
5 Toronto Maple Leafs 37 17 1 3 2 14 119 0.536 113
6 Anaheim Ducks 38 16 4 8 2 8 140 0.614 113
7 Montreal Canadiens 36 18 1 5 1 11 129 0.597 112
8 St. Louis Blues 36 16 3 5 1 11 125 0.579 111
9 New York Islanders 36 14 4 7 0 11 121 0.560 111
10 Detroit Red Wings 37 15 3 8 2 9 130 0.586 110
11 San Jose Sharks 36 16 1 6 1 12 120 0.556 108
12 New York Rangers 34 14 3 6 0 11 114 0.559 108
13 Vancouver Canucks 34 15 3 3 2 11 115 0.564 106
14 Washington Capitals 36 14 3 4 4 11 116 0.537 105
15 Los Angeles Kings 37 16 1 5 3 12 121 0.545 102
16 Minnesota Wild 34 13 2 3 3 13 101 0.495 100
17 Winnipeg Jets 37 14 3 5 4 11 119 0.536 99
18 Calgary Flames 38 13 4 4 2 15 110 0.482 99
19 Dallas Stars 35 14 0 3 4 14 101 0.481 96
20 Florida Panthers 33 10 1 9 4 9 99 0.500 96
21 Philadelphia Flyers 36 11 3 5 1 16 95 0.440 95
22 Boston Bruins 37 12 5 4 1 15 106 0.477 94
23 Ottawa Senators 36 10 2 6 4 14 94 0.435 92
24 Columbus Blue Jackets 34 9 2 5 2 16 81 0.397 89
25 New Jersey Devils 38 10 1 8 1 18 90 0.395 87
26 Colorado Avalanche 36 8 1 6 6 15 82 0.380 85
27 Buffalo Sabres 37 7 1 7 2 20 71 0.320 79
28 Arizona Coyotes 36 8 3 5 2 18 79 0.366 77
29 Carolina Hurricanes 36 8 1 4 1 22 66 0.306 75
30 Edmonton Oilers 36 7 0 2 5 22 58 0.269 68

The Aisles drop a teeny tiny bit because dey losht too the Canadians (wait what? "Canadiens"? Oh, right... shake it off!) and coughed up two more regulation victories (OTL in Buffalo, OTW vs. the Caps).

Shots!!! I mean, that was a great shot by Boychuk last night in OT. Salvaged that game, at least.

Anyways, the Oilers feel the way I will by mid-day January 1st: Lots of pain, little answer as to how they got to where they woke up. On the flip side, the Blackhawks have unseated the Pens for first overall. The Capitals have jumped into the top 15, making the Metro a legitimate division (half above average, half below).

What's an ice luge? I'm in trouble, aren't I?

OK that's all for now. All joking aside, take it easy tonight and don't Avery things up. Happy New Year!